Lite or Regular? Same same apparently…

I use Freestyle test strips because my OmniPod pump controller doubles as a meter. It’s great because I don’t have a carry yet another device to check my blood sugar. I have an awesome (for the most part) mail-order pharmacy that dutifully ships me 300 test strips a month. I used to test 10 times a day before I had a DexCom, and I still check maybe 5-7 times a day, so it’s not unusual for me to blow through 300 test strips a month (for which my doctor had to write me a special prescription saying I had wildly variable numbers and needed to check that many times instead of what’s actually true which is that I check a lot because I’m in control but WHATEVER, that’s another post entirely).

At any rate, I’ve had one (big)  consistant problem with my test strip mail order pharmacy and that is that they often ship me the wrong test strips. The OmniPod is approved for use with the regular Freestyle test strips, which require a code. My pharmacy often sends the Freestyle Lite strips, which do not require a code, and which are not approved for use with the OmniPod. My pharmacy tells me they often make this mistake because 1.) the strips look remarkably the same (check the pic above) and 2.) most people use the Lite strips. Neither of these reasons make me feel any better about getting the wrong strips almost every month, but that’s fine.

Thursday night I arrived home from work and saw the tell-tale box of strips from my pharmacy on the doorstep. I ripped it open and sure enough, Freestyle Lites again. Uggg was all I could think. Now I have to call them in the morning and get these replaced, what a hassle.

Then I remembered something a one of my customers, a local CDE had told me. This CDE heard that the Freestyle Lite test strips aren’t any different from the originals.

“Why the code on the originals then?” I asked.

“No idea,” was the response.

So Thursday night I opened up a box of the strips and did my own super-scientific clinical trial, patient population = 1. And guess what? I got the exact same result on my meter with both strips.

So turns out the folks at my pharmacy were pretty much right the whole time: these appear to be the same strips. Although it makes me nervous to use a strip that’s not approved for use with my meter, it’s hard to argue with the fact that the tests came up identical. I’m going to try a few more blood sugar checks to compare, and see where those end up.

If at the end of the day, they are the same strip, I’ll have to chalk this one up to yet another enigma of the pharmaceutical/device/FDA approval world. Believe me, I work in this industry and I barely understand why things get approved or not approved the way they do. To me, it makes little to no sense.

But if at the end of the day it can save me a phone call to my pharmacy to correct something, I’m all in. One less diabetes hassle for this girl!

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Comments

I use Accu-Chek Aviva and I recently got very quick service from a new supplier. The box said Accu-Chek Aviva Plus. Great, I thought, the wrong strips. I was wrong. These are the next gen strips because they are not screwed up by me taking any drug that includes Maltose (whatever that is). What freaked me out was seeing a code I hadn’t seen in a long time. My meter spontaneously changed its clock on me. Weird.

What timing for this post! Yesterday I called Abbott to get a new meter, Freestyle Lite, because my Flash is getting pretty old, and the Lite was the only other meter from them that has a backlight (totally necessary). Of course then you have to get an updated script so the strips will be covered because they are lite and not regular like the Flash uses. I like to have 2-3 of the same meters in case one takes a dump (vacations in Canada with no pharmacy in sight!). Anyway, it is good to know that they might be interchangeable just in case I want to have a back-up to my back-up:) Thanks, Lexie!

Jenni – totally agree that a backlight is necessary and you’re totally right to take the back up meters with you – I hear ya on the rural vacations! So far from what I can tell, the Lites work just fine….

My hubby also uses the Omnipod and has been using the Freestyle Lite test strips for a while. Didn’t even know that they weren’t authorized for the pod! But fortunately he’s never had a problem with them…hopefully you don’t either!

It seems the Internet has a few discussions and questions about people who use the OmniPod PDM and want to know whether or not “FreeStyle Lite” test strips work. I wanted to agree with you and say I have Lite strips and use them successfully in my PDM. The story told to me by a CDE and someone who is knowledgeable about OmniPod is that they are the same strips and all the ones I have ever seen do have a code number (16) on the strip vials.

It would be nice if Abbott and Insulet came out publicly and cleared up the confusion about the differences in the strips and once and for all give us a go ahead to use the correct test strips in our PDMs.

Dave – totally agree – the other issue I have is that they do produce very different results when using the different strips. Doesn’t instill a whole lot of faith in me!

I can not beleive I came across this site!! I have been suffering today with unusual Highs… thought I should change the pod but it expires tomm at 9am so I tried the unthinkable I inserted a free style lite into my PDM it registered a reading then I tried using my BG meter and got the same reading!! So I will for now use all these BG strips that I get for free on my BG meter and my omnipod until I feel comfortable that they DO work on the Omnipod PDM…. time will tell

My question is just the opposite. I have a freestyle lite meter. And the pharmacy gave me the regular freestyle strips. So I checked their website and it said to use only freestyle lite strips. Don’t know if I should continue to use the regular strips. Or spend more money and get the freestyle lite.

Same here, my son has a lite meter,
But we’ve got lots of regular test strips –
they seem to work fine, but I’m not sure.
Does anybody know?

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